Letters to the Editor -- August 22, 2008

Doyle gives his thoughts on Bethany election

For the past 17 years, I’ve had the pleasure of living in Bethany Beach, a town that has been blessed with the finest administration that can be found along the Delaware coastline. Property owners have benefited from the lowest real estate tax rates, the lowest water rates and the lowest trash collection fees in this area and, for the last few years, we have also been treated to a beautiful environment, thanks to the lovely floral landscaping throughout the town.

Financially, Bethany is also in excellent condition and continually receives kudos from its outside auditors in their annual audit. This management picture doesn’t happen by accident — it’s the result of the efforts and planning of the people that have been in charge doing a superb job for us. So let’s keep the individuals listed below working for us for the next two years:

• Tony McClenny — our vice-mayor who is also presently serving on the Budget/Finance and Charter Review committees, as well as our Planning Commission, to name just a few. Tony’s leadership and vision on many tough issues as well as his efforts to evoke property owner input and communication through his website are examples of the special leadership qualities that are rarely found in a councilperson. Bethany needs Tony to continue his unique contributions for another two years.

• Jerry Dorfman — our secretary/treasurer, chairman of the Budget/Finance Committee and member of the Charter Review Committee. Jerry’s leadership in addressing the critical decrease in our transfer tax (then our largest revenue source) by restructuring our budget to recover the lost revenue evenly from both our visitors and our residents was an example of his excellent leadership. Jerry has also scheduled finance meetings to do the necessary strategic planning to address the various projects facing our town in the near future. With the concerns regarding economic matters everywhere we look today, we need Jerry on our council now more than ever.

• Lew Killmer — Lew has brought to Bethany a rich background in the important areas of both planning and zoning that had not previously been seen. Under his leadership as chairman of our Planning Commission, we have upgraded and modernized our town code and ordinances to a point where Bethany now has ordinance structure that will properly oversee our town’s growth in the future. Lew’s prodigious intellect and experience in this area will not be found anywhere else — the reason we should elect him to continue these efforts for the next two years.

• Jack Gordon — Jack not only serves as a key member on our Budget/Finance Committee but also played an important role in bringing both the trolleys into Bethany, as well as being on the committee to initiate recycling in our town — each an example of both his vision and leadership. He also has served as president of Lake Bethany’s Community Association for seven years — solid evidence of his ongoing community involvement. Jack will bring additional strength to the town council.

Don Doyle, former vice-mayor
Bethany Beach

Esposito finds town’s decisions hypocritcal

I find the hypocrisy startling within the Ocean View Town Council in connection with their recent decision to eliminate the take-home car policy for police officers as a cost-savings move, but total silence when it comes to continuing to provide a take-home car the town manager, who doesn’t even reside in our state.

To our councilmen it is evidently acceptable to have all of the police officers sacrifice while their police vehicles sit idle at the Public Safety Building and yet permit the town manager to travel 104 miles daily from his home in Denton, Md., in a vehicle paid for by Ocean View taxpayers, including the cost of gas at approximately $3.75 a day.

In fact, using the town manager’s own analysis, based on IRS regulations which define the cost of operating a vehicle at 48.5 cents a mile, the annual cost of commuter miles for the entire fleet of Ocean View police vehicles is $17,745. If we use this same analysis on the town manager’s car alone, the annual cost to taxpayers for this commute is $12,610. Can anyone deny that continuing to allow this expenditure is ludicrous and obscene?

The town manager was originally provided use of the car for one year, in order to determine whether he and his wife would be relocating to Ocean View. The year has come and gone, the town manager has not relocated and yet use of the car continues. Shameful!

Adding to this hypocrisy is the fact that the town council justified this new take-home car policy as a need to save money for the town, which is facing serious financial problems. And yet, at the same meeting where this policy was approved, the council also approved the expenditure of at least $169,000 to taxpayers for relocating the town hall staff to the Public Safety Building from the current town hall.

Ocean View taxpayers paid for the renovation of the town hall itself just three years ago and — as the former mayor has pointed out — the facility is more than adequate to handle staff needs with only minor office rearrangements. This fact has obviously met with deaf ears.

It appears the need to be fiscally responsible doesn’t apply to our town’s administration — only to the police and us as taxpayers.

Vinnie Esposito
Ocean View

Reader states it’s time to take the town back

The taxpayers of Ocean View have voted and the majority has said, “It’s time to take our town back.” You can hold all the rallies you want, but after eight years of uncontrolled spending, we finally have a council that is trying to undo all the wrongs of the past. Thank goodness we are no longer in the real estate business (Shore house, Lampee house) and who knows what else?

We only spent about a half-million for them and we haven’t used them for anything. Now we are budgeted to spend $35,000 to keep them from falling down. One has been empty for 10 years! Why did we have to spend $2.4 million for the Taj Mahal? Couldn’t we have spent some money turning one of those houses into a police station? Other towns have done it!

Remember, our town is only one mile by one mile, but we have to justify the Taj Mahal, so we need eight police officers to fill it up and nine police cars. Some people will tell you that’s why we have such a low crime rate. I don’t think our crime rate is any lower than Millville or Clarksville, and they don’t have a local police force. Dagsboro probably is in line with us, and I think they have only two or three police officers. The mayor said the national average for a town our size is 2.6 police officers.

We are very lucky to have a CAP force that volunteer their time to help keep our community safe. We should use them more for checking residences and checking the welfare of citizens in the community. Why do the police have to perform this function? Most HOA’s have a neighborhood watch that call in suspicious activity.

It’s like the tow truck driver that called 911 about a vehicle following him that led to the apprehension of the theft ring. Our police budget is fast approaching the $1 million mark. The police chief gave his report for the June council meeting and the only thing I heard was 222 speeding citations and 64 seatbelt violations. Firefighters don’t get cars to respond to alarms, much less have the opportunity to take their cars home with them. Like I said before, they belong to the taxpayers of Ocean View and should only be used to patrol our streets!

I was sorry to read about the former mayor being banned from the offices in the town hall. He is a normal citizen now and has to abide by the guidelines set. I can’t go behind the window to chat with friends, and I wouldn’t think to do so. They are very busy performing the business of the town and you shouldn’t be interrupting them from performing their jobs. I’m sure the Wave wouldn’t let people come in and disrupt their employees. If you want to talk to friends, then invite them out for lunch and talk with them.

It’s the minority that keeps making our town look like the laughingstock of Sussex County. Maybe we should give Dr. Gregory one of those houses, since he already had saved the Town of Ocean View taxpayers over $2 million. So if you want higher taxes and uncontrolled spending, then sign the petition. I’m sure we will get that $1.4 million public works building!

Joseph Fedick
Ocean View

Bethany council needs more ‘new blood’

The Bethany Beach Town Council has “cleaned up” its procedure for absentee voting so non-resident property owners and others not in town to vote will be more certain their votes will count. There are still many issues that need discussion in depth and more publicly acted upon. Some have been discussed and seriously considered over the last 20 years. (Some council members need a history lesson).

Draining Pennsylvania Avenue goes way back and all plans would have required a holding pond and special pumps. However, the water and drainage pipes are damaged and need to be replaced.

The “Streetscape” project is not understood by many people and there should be a forum to answer questions from the taxpayers.

The boardwalk widening needs much more serious consideration and opportunity for the taxpayers to express their views. A wider boardwalk will fill up like a new road, creating more crowding. Build it and they will come. And they still won’t see the surf. According to DNREC, the state agency which controls this kind of activity, this is not a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

There are council members who think the majority of taxpayers are not interested and don’t care about how the town is governed. The real discussions by council are now done during the work week instead of on Friday nights and Saturday, when interested non-residents who still work can get here to listen and have their views considered.

The council needs another infusion of “new blood.” There are four candidates for council that we urge you to vote for: Joe Bellistri, Jack Gordon, Margaret Young and Steve Wode. Wode was “new blood” two years ago and deserves to be re-elected.

Donald Brown, former Planning Commission chairman
Eleanor Brown
Mary Brintnall
Carolyn B. Hughes
Joe McHugh, former Bethany Beach mayor
Julia Jacobsen, former councilwoman, Intergovernmental Relations chairwoman
Virginia S. Martin
Holly and David Penning

Elect Jack Gordon in Bethany election

We need individuals who have demonstrated their interest in the town through their significant efforts on committees. We need individuals who have experience in handling demanding jobs. We need individuals who live full-time in Bethany Beach and have new ideas that will benefit the town.

Jack Gordon meets all of these criteria and is a well rounded, personable individual who will work effectively with other council members and with the community. We strongly recommend that we elect Jack to the council to obtain the benefits of his skills.

Stan and Doris Rosen
Bethany Beach

FOSCL adds another generous donation

When I wrote last week’s article for the Capital Campaign I had not “officially” received a very generous $10,000 donation from the Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation Inc.

The Foundation was very kind to donate a portion of the proceeds from the Quiet Resorts Golf Classic, held at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club on June 5, 2008, with the Friends of the South Coastal Library Capital Campaign for the renovation and expansion of the library located on Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach.

The other recipients were the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company and the Lower Sussex Little League.

Again, our thanks to the Foundation and everyone that attended, making this donation possible.

Ray Aumiller
FOSCL Capital Campaign

Milton reader believes Markell is the choice

When Jack Markell and John Carney released their campaign funding figures, Delawareans learned that Markell had taken in $1.1 million this year while Carney had raised only $420,000 — and that despite the Delaware Democratic Party’s unfair funding of Carney. How will the Carney camp spin his pathetic fundraising, I wondered.

Their posturing? That much of Markell’s funds came from outside Delaware. Of course, they failed to say Markell raised more from Delaware donors ($480,000) than Carney had raised from all sources.

But is it really a bad thing that non-Delawareans recognize Markell as having such potential for interstate and national interests that they tangibly back him with donations? I would want a governor whom other states’ governors and citizens respect and believe in, rather than a governor who can only garner the interest of some Delawareans.

And, frankly, if funding is any indication, it is obvious that Jack Markell has captured the imagination of grassroots Delawareans, as opposed to John Carney, who must be propped up by Gov. Minner, the Delaware Democratic Party, some unions and the politics-as-usual crowd at Legislative Hall.

Diana Reardon